“We are the sum total of our experiences. Those experiences, be they positive or negative, make us the person we are, at any given point in our lives. And, like a flowing river, those same experiences, and those yet to come, continue to influence and reshape the person we are, and the person we become. None of us are the same as we were yesterday, nor will be tomorrow.”-B.J. Neblett
We are born into stories, storytelling is a natural part of being human. The stories we develop and tell become our life story, they form our perception of everything and everyone we encounter, as well are our self-perception and our beliefs. The present state of our lives is a result of those stories.
Self narratives define our way of seeing who we believe we are, our sense of self-worth and what we believe we are capable of, they help us connect with others and how we empathize. As we grow into adults, our narratives become our perception of the world.
Not only are we storytellers, we are story listeners. Narratives are woven into our heads and throughout our lives become very real to us even if they are imagined or nothing like any situation we may have experienced. Whether we are aware of it or not, we combine all of the elements of our stories to create an explanation of our lives. Our imagination combined with these stories can either pull us into misconceptions and suffering or draw us into a life of happiness, love and positive outcomes. We are the authors of our stories.
While not all stories we are told or tell are wrong or harmful, they are the foundation for many of the circumstances that we live every day. Like everyone else, my stories come from a variety of sources where I’ve created visuals of myself and my abilities. The difference for me came with my journey into mindfulness which has helped me tremendously with my self-narratives, whether I’m creating stories about myself, the people around me or any experiences I have.
The internalized stories we tell ourselves are our own personal myths. Like myths, our stories are a combination of fact and what may or may not be conjecture. They have villains and heroes that either propel us forward or hold us back. We can figure out where those stories originated by reflecting, looking at each part of who we are and where that stems from. We can edit, revise and interpret those stories even if limited by facts, we can also rewrite them. Consider this, our lives, our stories and our health are inextricably interwoven.
How do you recognize the stories you tell yourself, and if they are getting in your way?
Start by thinking through who you are. Write it down.
What are your qualities?
What do you struggle with? Take time with this, perhaps even coming back to it a few days later.
Ask others how they perceive you.
What do they say you’re good at?
Recognize the things in your story that make you uncomfortable, things you don’t like to admit but feel are true
Challenge the story.
Are those things you want to change?
Focus on really understanding those aspects of your narrative. Think through where they came from.
What was the root cause?
Imagine what life would be like if these weren’t part of your narrative. What would be different? (From Introvert, Dear –by Peter Ash)
Mindful Ways to Unravel your Self-Narratives
Determine parts of a narrative you want to change – whether your stories are about yourself, other people, habits that you have, beliefs that you follow, stories that you’ve been telling and what parts of it really represent you, the way you feel, the way you see things and how you believe, then rework the story into an uplifting and pleasing story that fits with who you are.
Call the Story Out – in other words whatever you’ve been telling yourself, rethink and rephrase it to self-supporting narratives. If your stories are out of sync with who you really are, it is important to rewrite them so you are consciously creating a positive visual you can align with. Each and every word we say projects an image of who we believe we are, how we treat ourselves and others, whether we act or react or if we live with a loving or harsh approach to live. The way to build a better world is to start within ourselves.
Empower Rather Disempower Yourself – Create a positive future for yourself by stepping outside of your comfort zone and rewriting your self-narratives. We are the only ones on our journey, writing our story as we proceed each day. Like the words you write, the thoughts you have and the words you speak can be transitioned to empowering and positive stories that manifest gifts into your life that meet your wants and needs and fulfill a positive image of who you are.
When you live mindfully, you’ll come to understand that life never happens to you, it happens for you, no matter what the event. Events are neutral, it is the way we perceive what happens and what we say about the events we live that determines their impact. You can’t not have a story. Think of yourself as in a constant, developing relationship with your life: view your life as a partner and a whole, rather than a series of circumstances and events. See your life as a canvas that can be re-painted any way and at any time. What story do you want to tell yourself and those around you?
Final thoughts, everything we say is based on our attitude. Neutralize life, see it as a span of time with an undetermined number of years to go through our life experiences. We can either adapt and endure with a reactive attitude to situations 24/7 or think of our life as a blank canvas, creating each part of our story as we go along, responding in any way that’s in line with who we are.
Jodie Rogers is a coach, facilitator and skills trainer guiding professionals, individuals and corporate teams who need clarity, momentum and greater self-awareness to enable change to happen.
Expert Advice from Benjamin Button: “It’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. You can change or stay the same; there are no rules to this thing. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find you are not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”
Thank you for reading my post, I appreciate your time.